Homemade Cherry Chip Layer Cake

We celebrated a birthday around here this weekend. Happy Birthday, Timmy! Don’t mind the fact that the cake is pink. He likes it!

Cherry chip cake was the order of the day. It was delicious. I’m pretty sure that by now all of it is gone. It was 3 layers and easily fed about 10 of us with a full 1/4 of the cake left. It went home with the birthday boy.

This cake is from scratch.  I do occasionally branch off and skip doctoring a cake mix in favor of fully homemade cake. This is one of those times. There are a few flavors of cake mix that I am not a big fan of. . .like cherry chip, for instance.

I figured it couldn’t be too hard to create my own cherry chip cake, right? Right! Easy!

I made a basic white cake recipe and then added minced maraschino cherries.

I love those artificially colored little bad boys. I could sit with a fork and eat an entire jar. . ok, I HAVE sat with a fork and eaten an entire jar. Sometimes I have to fight Tim for them. He enjoys the maraschino cherry as much as I do. We’ve been known to polish off an economy size jar in record time. We sometimes get them as christmas stocking stuffers from family. (Along with green olives which be both also love. They aren’t as good in cake, though.)

Cherries in general are a favorite fruit of mine. I can’t wait for them to be in season and cheap again! Last year I ate so many cherries I almost turned into one just like Violet Beauregard turns into a blueberry in the movie Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. (I love that movie. . the original, not the remake, which sucked!)

These cake layers baked so evenly. No huge dome on top to cut off before icing them. They were perfect to ice as is.

After letting them cool COMLETELY (important when using a butter cream icing) I lay strips of wax paper around the edges of the cake stand I plan to serve the cake on and center the first layer on top. This keeps the edges of the cake stand clean and pretty. After you finish icing it, you just gently pull the strips of wax paper out from under the edges of the cake. Then I go around the bottom edge and pipe on a few little stars to make the cake look a little more finished.

I doubled the recipe below and made three 9″ round layers and 12 cupcakes out of it. There is another birthday this week that required a few cupcakes. Happy Birthday, L!

I spread icing between each layer and after all 3 layers are stacked, I do a thin coat of icing on the entire cake and then refrigerate it for at least 30 minutes. The is called the crumb coat. It ensures all the crumbs are stuck down and won’t dirty up the final icing layer. After that layer chills I do a final thick coat of icing before decorating it.

Given the maraschino cherry flavor of the cake I felt it was appropriate to use almond milk instead of regular milk in the batter. It worked perfect. The cake was very moist and cherry-rific!

And maybe I was out of regular milk. And maybe I didn’t realize until I had already started mixing the batter. And maybe I was too darn lazy to run to the store and get regular milk. And maybe I NEVER have regular milk in the house cause we don’t drink it but I ALWAYS forget that before I start to bake.

Fortunately, I do always have almond milk and half and half (for my coffee). They have always worked in a pinch. Almond milk is a miracle ingredient as far as I am concerned. I LOVE IT.

The cake was a hit with everyone. The kiddies and us oldies. 😉 As a matter of fact I think it is so yummy that I can see this becoming a go to cake for me. Who doesn’t like cherries? Blasphemers, maybe!

I used the same cherry buttercream that I made a month or so ago for my SIL’s bday cupcakes. It’s fantastic. Easy, too.

Cherry Chip Cake

1 1/2 sticks butter, room temp

1 1/4 cups sugar

2 cups AP flour

1 Tbsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

6 large egg whites (3/4 cup)

3/4 cup milk (I used unflavored almond milk)

1/2 tsp almond extract

2 Tbsp maraschino cherry juice (from the jar with the cherries)

10 oz jar maraschino cherries, very well drained and finely minced

Grease and line 2 9″ round cake pans with parchment. (Or you could make a 9×13 or 24 cupcakes.)

In the bowl of a stand mixer add butter and sugar. Whip until the mixture is very light and fluffy. (This is very important. . it will take about 5-6 minutes of mixing on high speed.)

While the sugar and butter mix, measure the flour, baking powder and salt int to a large bowl and stir together. Set aside.

In a large measuring cup, measure out the egg whites and milk. Mix the extract and cherry juice into the egg and milk mixture. Set aside.

Once the butter/sugar mix is fluffy, turn the mixer down to low and carefully add the dry and wet ingredients to the butter mix a little at a time. Start and end with the dry ingredients.

Stir in the minced cherries.

Pour the batter into the prepared pans.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Cool completely before icing.

53 responses »

  1. I can vouch for the amazingness of this cake! It was fantastic:). I have eaten a big piece before bed each night since… Wrestling season isn’t for another 7 months so I can do whatever I want:p. Cake was amazing! I loved it. I did allow my siblings to try a bite… Just one bite….. With a toothpick… So it was more like crumbs! They loved it too:).

  2. I made this cake for my moms 50th bday yesterday and I made it with gluten free AP flour and wow it was so good she loved it you wouldnt even guess it was GF ! I have been craving a cherry chip cake but cant because of the gluten so i was nervouse if it would turn out but wow this cake will be one of our house fav nows thanks for sharing 🙂

  3. The recipe looks amazing and I can’t wait to try it! Just one question, what do you do with the left over 6 egg yolks? I’d hate to waste them! (I have backyard chickens and they work really hard to make the whole egg!)

  4. Great cake. I used the egg yolks to make noodles.

  5. HI, I was wondering if you could use the Wilton meringue powder in place of the egg white?

    • I don’t see why not. You really just need something to wet the nuts and act as a sort of glue. The only thing with the meringue powder is that it is a little sweet so it may give the nuts a salty sweet kind of kick. But that could be awesome! Let me know how they turn out!

  6. Laura G.Turcotte

    Ok–So this is the cake I am making for hubby’s birthday this weekend. He’s a huge fan of cherry chip—I’m not (don’t even get me started on how much I despise it, the box brand, that is!!lol) I’ll let you know how it turns out.

    • I hope it turned out great for you! It was a big hit for me. I am not a fan of the boxed version either. I actually just made a version of it this morning to use for cake pops!

      • Laura G.Turcotte

        So I made the cake (which was super easy!!) and OMG!! It was delicious!!!!!!! I am enjoying it…and I don’t like cherry chip–or rather didn’t like it. THANK YOU for sharing this amazing recipe! I am so impressed!

      • That is awesome to hear! I am so happy you like it!! I have to tell you, I don’t make a ton of cakes from scratch (mostly out of laziness) but the cherry chip is so worth the few extra minutes to whip up! 🙂 Thank you for checking back in to share that!!

  7. I’m trying to duplicate my boyfriends late Mother’s cherry cake. She was German heritage but it was a layer cake and had white icing with apparently cherry chips in it. This looks like the closest thing to it.

    What is AP flour? Where do you find it or is it a name brand from a certain part of the country?
    Is it o.k. to use Betty Crocker or some other name brand flour?

    I’m trying to make something special for my boyfriend’s 75th birthday!

    Thank you,

    • AP flour just stands for All Purpose flour. Any brand will work. I usually just use a store brand. Some people use cake flour specifically for cakes but this cake does not need cake flour.
      I hope this cake fits the bill for you! Good Luck!! (and happy birthday to your boyfriend!)

      • Thank you. I’m making a tasting one today and will let home health nurses, etc. and Mother’s paid caregiver have a piece to get their take.

  8. We just picked about 16 pounds of fresh cherries and my 3 year old has proclaimed she wants a cherry birthday cake. Do you think i could sub in sweet cherries instead of the jarred ones if I treat them with the fruit fresh to keep them red? Also, what about vanilla almond milk? I keep that in my fridge and not the unsweet?

    • I don’t see why the fresh cherries would be a problem! It will probably taste very fresh! I don’t have any experience with fruit fresh though. You’ll have to let me know how that works out. You could always add a couple drops of food coloring to keep the pink color in the batter and icing. And Vanilla Almond Milk will work perfectly! I love all sorts of almond milk and have never had a problem baking with any of it.
      That’s a lot of Cherries! Yummy!!

  9. this is the best cake i have ever made everyone loved it . i will make it again

  10. Can this cake be made the day before it will be served? If so, do I refridgerate it or leave it in a tupperware?

    • I made it the day before I served it and I did not refrigerate it. You don’t need to refrigerate it because it’s a buttercream and not a whipped icing. However, if it’s a really hot day in your kitchen, you could decide to refrigerate it if the icing seems sloppy. I do that sometimes if things are melty on a hot summer day! 🙂

  11. After I initially commented I appear to have clicked
    the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now whenever a comment is added I recieve
    4 emails with the exact same comment. Perhaps there is an easy method you are able
    to remove me from that service? Thanks a lot!

  12. Great looking recipe! I’m making it today for my daughter’s Baby Shower tomorrow. She specifically asked for cherry chip cake and you know pregnant women know what they want! I’ll be decorating it as well, so not sure about if I’ll use the frosting on top or not. I’ll make it and use it in between the layers, but not sure about on top. Probably will just make it a plain buttercream on top. What do you think?

  13. I have been searching for a cherry chip cake recipe since moving to tn as I can’t find them anywhere!! And home made is better anyway, can’t wait to try this! And by the way how did you do your icing? Your cake looks so moist and delicious !

  14. I made this recipie for cupcakes and it was horrible, by far the worst cupcake I’ve ever made. I’m not sure what I did wrong, I followed the recipe exactly how it’s shown, well I cut the cooking time down some but they tasted exactly like cornbread with a cherry aftertaste, so disappoint ):

  15. Hi Sarah,

    I just took the two cakes out of the oven and put in a dozen cupcakes. Can’t wait for them to cool so I can ice them. The cake is for my daughters 31st birthday and she absolutely adores cherry chip cake. The cupcakes are for my spouse – he absolutely loves cherry chip as well. I’ll let you know what everyone thinks of this recipe. I cheated a bit and tasted the batter and it was out of this world….

  16. Anna Drotzur


    I made this recipe tonight as cupcakes for my daughters birthday treat. We’ve always been a huge fan of boxed cherry chip cake, but have been switching to all natural/real food slowly over the past six months. After looking at the ingredient label for Betty Crockers super moist cherry chip cake I couldn’t do it. I figured if the only “fake” thing I was putting in was the cherries I could live with that. I used an immersion blender to mince the cherries which worked great. The only changes I made was using organic vitamin D milk and I used vanilla extract instead of almond extract because there is a boy with nut allergies. Also I used a 16 oz jar of cherries because the grocery store was out of the 10oz and I figured the more cherry the better.

    These turned out delicious! Total the recipe made 2 dozen regular and 1 dozen mini cupcakes, which all taste great and are way better than the box mix. I’m looking forward to trying it again with the almond milk and extract as well as a natural maraschino cherry alternative that I found online 🙂

    • That’s wonderful to hear! I actually made this cake this past weekend again, too & also used the immersion blender for the cherries. It was quick & tidy! Love it!
      I’ll have to look up the cherry alternative. Very interesting! Thank you!

      • Anna Drotzur

        Yes, my husband tried one today and said, “Wow babe, these are way better than the boxed ones!” Which was my stamp of approval as he’s been the hardest to convince that from scratch is better tasting and better for us than from box 🙂

  17. What kind of icing was use on the cake I didn’t catch that :p..was it home made as we’ll?

  18. Grandma Gardner

    I see that some of you are baking this for a family member who loved the “cherry chip boxed cake”. I also noted that the bakers disliked the boxed cake, but love this recipe.
    My Question. Did the family member who loved the “cherry chip boxed cake” – also love this cake from scratch? Did he think this recipe was about the same, better, or worse than their favorite.
    My family member is very picky.

  19. I have never bothered to comment on any blog, BUT you totally deserve to know how important this recipe has become…

    For as long as I can remember, my mother has had cherry chip cake on her birthday. Even when she had only littles and had to make it herself, she had cherry chip cake on her birthday. She used the box mix, which was discontinued a few years ago and she was heartbroken when I told her there would be no cherry chip, as no bakery sells them either.

    Then I found your recipe. And I think she cried. It’s the little things; it’s tradition. I have come back to this recipe every year, for three years now. I came back again tonight, so that tomorrow when I drive the five hours home to surprise her for her birthday, she will also have her cherry chip cake.

    I tried a few others on other sites and none of them had the flavor that I know she loves; This? This is delicious and no doubt will remain a “family” recipe for years. Thank you!

    • Thank you so much for sharing this with me! It makes my day. I hope the tradition can live on for you and your family. It’s a favorite around here too. Hard to believe such an iconic flavor cake mix was discontinued! I’m so happy this fills the void for you! Happy Birthday to your mom! (Coincidentally I made this cake yesterday too. . but in cupcake form! My husband is always so happy to smell that cake baking!)

  20. This cake looks delicious and very moist. Can I use a can of cherry pie filling?

    • I’m not sure how that would work as I haven’t tried it. You might need to back off of the liquid by 1/4 cup or a little bit to make up for the pie filling being wetter than the chopped maraschino cherrys. Let me know how that works!

  21. Do you have a frosting recipe for this cake??

  22. Sarah, is one batch of the Cherry Buttercream Frosting enough to frost this cake if made assembled as a 2-layer (8″ round) cake? I don’t want to run short and have to spread the icing too thin, but I also don’t want to have a lot leftover! Thanks for the recipe.

    • Hi Jane! Yes, it should be enough to frost a 2 layer 8″ cake. I used 1 batch to frost my cake.
      If you’re worried and double the frosting recipe, leftovers freeze beautiful. Enjoy!!

      • Sarah, today is the day I’m going to make this cake, and I have one more question. I know you used “unflavored almond milk”, but was it also “unsweetened”? I had no idea, until I was standing in front of the dairy case in the grocery store last night, that there were so many different kinds of almond milk! I couldn’t decide if I should buy the the “Unflavored Original” (which has some sugar added) or the “Unsweetened Unflavored Original”. Thanks again for your help.

      • Hi Jane, whichever milk you chose will work. Whether it’s sweetened or not. It’s only mildly sweetened. I’ve been used regular milk for this cake and it’s been fine. I just usually keep unsweetened, unflavored almond milk on hand at home because I don’t love dairy milk for day to day drinking.
        It’ll be great!! Happy baking!

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